The success of an affiliate marketing strategy depends on how many referrals you’re able to send to merchant sites and how well these referrals convert (hence the bolding of these factors above). The more relevant and appealing the offers you highlight on your site, the higher both your click and conversion rates will likely be. If you’re running a travel blog, you probably don’t want to be featuring affiliate offers for baby products; replacing them with affiliate links to cruise packages would probably result in a higher referral rate.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.